A history of gay royals in the UK
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
"Amen." So be it. The conclusion of a Christian prayer. There has been, no doubt, a diverse range of wishes to precede this closing of communication with God. Whether it is a cry for help in desperate times, gratitude for their luck picking up after adversity, or calling for the improvement of the fortunes of their local football team, the deity has a wide-ranging lists of requests from their believers.
If God, or whomever it may be, was listening to the recent demands from certain Anglicans, even with omniscience, their creations may have caused confusion. On some occasions, the most fervent of followers would wish for gay conversion as they are shunned by the ignorant. The opposite appears to be the case in some corners of the Church of England, with a church minister asking “for the Lord to bless Prince George with a love, when he grows up, of a fine young gentleman” in order to force support for same-sex marriage.
Whether Prince George, the eldest child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is lucky enough to fall in love with either a man or a woman, or indeed both, there may have been gay members of the royal family throughout history.
The first member of the royal family to come out of the closet was Lord Ivar Mountbatten, Queen Elizabeth II's 53-year-old cousin. Mountbatten opened up about his sexuality to the Daily Mail last year:
"'Coming out' is such a funny phrase but it's what I suppose I did in a rather roundabout way, emerging to a place I'm happy to be.
"I have struggled with my sexuality and in some ways I still do; it has been a real journey to reach this point."
Lord Ivar Mountbatten is the only confirmed homosexual royal, with historical examples based on guesswork and hearsay. Edward II, who ruled England from was from 1307 until he was deposed in 1327, was "probably homosexual, and certainly bisexual", writes BBC Wales journalist Phil Carradice. He had an "intense friendship" with Piers Gaveston and then with Hugh Despenser. The rumours of sexuality arise despite fathering at least five children by two women.
His love interests have been the subject of plays, poetry, novels and films. Edward and Gaveston's relationship is alluded to in Christopher Marlowe’s 1593 play Edward the Second. The film adaptation from 1991 went considerably further than Marlowe's play, and included scenes of gay sex and homoeroticism.
James I, who was the King of Scotland from 1567 and the King of England and Ireland from 1603 until his death in 1625, was also considered to be bisexual. In the biography of Sir Edward Coke, a prominent Elizabethan lawyer, Catherine D. Bowen writes: "Jamesʼs sexual orientation was so widely known that Sir Walter Raleigh joked about it in public saying “King Elizabeth” had been succeeded by “Queen James"."
Prince George is still only a child, and at four-years-old, his love life should certainly not be a subject of discussion. If the son of Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, happens to discover his sexuality later on in life, he may not be alone in the royal family - but it would be groundbreaking, nonetheless.